Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ultimate Frisbee

I love having people in my house. Even before we had children I had dreams of filling my home with lots of people. Having my tables full of happy, talkative people is a treat! Last month I was happy to host the Gustavus Adolphus College's Ultimate teams (men's & women's) who were in Northfield for the Exit 69 tournament. (This is the exit off the interstate for our fair city.)

Ultimate (officially dropping the "Frisbee" part of the name for copywrite reasons), a seeming cross between rugby and soccer, was proposed by Joel Silver as a joke to his Student Council in a small school in New Jersey in 1967. Little did he know that over 40 years later it would exceed it's "after school, pick up game" status and become an internationally played sport with college and city leagues all over the country. (Wikipedia and The Ultimate Handbook sites have lots of good information on the sport.)

Ultimate players are a fun group of kids. They seem to be a pretty free-spirited and independent group. While they enjoy playing a team sport,they're not overly competitive or as structured as "official" collegiate sports. During the frisbee match itself, the players rule themselves. Rather than engage a referee they collaboratively keep the game fair.

Following is exerpted from a listing of rules of the game in the section titled, "Spirit of the Game:"

Ultimate has traditionally relied upon a spirit of sportsmanship
which places the responsibility for fair play on the

player. Highly competitive play is encouraged, but never at the
expense of the bond of mutual respect between players,
to the agreed upon rules of the game, or the basic joy of play.
Protection of these vital elements serves to eliminate adverse
conduct from the Ultimate field. Such actions as taunting of
opposing players, dangerous aggression, intentional fouling,
or other "win-at-all-costs" behavior are contrary to the spirit of the game and must be avoided by all players.

By the time the team gets to my house, they've played a number of games and are hot and tired (or chilled and tired, depending on the weather). The past two years have been cold and rainy; a warm house, hot showers and comfort food "hit the spot." I had 2 huge pots of soup, fresh bread and salad ready for them. As a team, they assigned freshman to help with clean up (if only they knew how much I had done before they even arrived!)

When my other son's team from Lawrence University came two and three years ago, they hunkered down for the evening all over the house. Some studied, some played poker using little kids' toys for chips, a few messed around on the piano, and a handful fell asleep on various couches. My younger children watched and were intrigued by this kind of young adult "slumber party." Most of the Gustavus crew preferred tents and campfires at a nearby county park.

On Sunday afternoon I was able to catch some of my son's game. They're a great group and I look forward to next year's tournament.